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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Warner

Warner helps Kaine unveil economic plan

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Former Governor Tim Kaine has been a candidate for the U.S. Senate for exactly one year.  It was a job that he took on a bit reluctantly, but has since attacked with vigour.

In a race that is expected to be a titanic struggle between two of Virginia’s most prominent politicians, Kaine appears willing to do whatever it takes to give himself the advantage. One of those advantages is his old running mate, Senator Mark Warner. Warner consistently polls as one of Virginia’s most popular elected officials and seems ready and willing to help keep both U.S. Senate seats in the hands of democrats.

But while, Warner helps Kaine draw crowds, and potentially TV cameras that might not be their otherwise, it was the candidate that had to sell the message. Kaine focused his remarks at various stops in Virginia on his plan for the economy. A broad plan, based on three basic tenants of job growth, strengthening the talent pool and building a balanced budget while bringing civil discourse to Washington.

Kaine’s most prominent Republican opponent George Allen wondered what took the former governor so long to release his plan.

“It took a year, but Chairman Tim Kaine has finally put on paper what Virginia families already knew,” said Allen campaign manager Mike Thomas.  “He (Kaine) wants to raise taxes on families and small businesses.”

The Allen campaign once again hammered home Kaine’s connection to President Barack Obama and specifically his support of the stimulus plan and health care reform.

For his part, Kaine countered that attacks like those are exactly what Washington, D.C. needs less of.

“It’s all about balance, civility and working together,” he said during an interview at an event at Maggie Walker Governor’s School in Richmond. “You know restoring the traditions of let’s find ways to work together.”

It was a sentiment that Warner echoed. Warner who has tried, with little success, to find bi-partisan partners in Washington said Kaine has the type of personality that will bring people together.

“People are pretty frustrated with congress at this point,” said Warner.  “They want us to get stuff done. Tim Kaine will get up there and get stuff done.”

An extended clip from Kaine and Warner at Maggie Walker Governor’s School can be found below:

Allen’s campaign released his economic plan “A Blueprint for America’s Future” last year.

More on Kaine’s plan can be found after the jump:

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Written by Ryan Nobles

April 4, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Warner to vote “no” on payroll tax cut extension

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Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia),  who is usually the first person in line to support a bi-partisan measure, has broke ranks and will not support the deal hammered out by House Republicans and Senate Democrats to extend the payroll tax cut. Warner has been pleading for unity on tackling the debt and deficit crisis, but believes this deal will make the problem worse.

It appears that there is enough momentum to pass the measure, but losing the vote of a moderate like Warner speaks volumes about the potential problems with the bill.

Warner’s remarks from the Senate floor can be seen below:

Warner gave five specific reasons for not supporting the measure:

1- The tax cut is not “paid for”, meaning the lost revenue is not made up in other areas, either by different tax increases or spending cuts in other sectors. This was the main complaint by House Republicans, who later conceded because they did not want the issue to become a political football in the fall election.

2- By setting this precedent, of extending tax cuts that are designed to expire, it will make the work of coming up with a solution for the Bush Tax cut expiration even harder. Democrats have long tried to phase out the Bush tax cuts to no avail. Warner warns that this will extend and already lingering fight.

3- The proposal doesn’t offer provisions to raise taxes on the rich (a deal breaker for republicans) or even a means testing provision that would allow the cut to expire for high earners. Warner said he was up to a discussion on just how high those earners have to be, but regardless it was not part of the proposal.

4- There is no mechanism to ratchet the holiday back as the economy improves. He fears there will be a “cliff” effect when then the tax holiday ends making it even harder for people who have grown accustom to the extra money in their paycheck.

And finally..  

5- Warner believes the plan it unfairly impact federal workers, of which there are many in Virginia.

The full transcript is after the jump:

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Written by Ryan Nobles

February 16, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Warner continues to warn about debt crisis

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Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) is in a unique position in Washington. He is among a small group of elected officials who does not need to campaign this fall. President Barack Obama, 1/3 of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives will face voters once again in November.

Perhaps that is one of the many reasons that Warner isn’t easily led into squabbles over campaigns and slogans. No matter what you ask him, he brings the conversation back to the one thing that concerns him the most, the debt crisis and country’s increasing deficit.

“Until, and unless we can make that grand bargain around the major issues (debt, deficit, entitlement reform)” said Warner. “I’m not sure that we are going to get to a lot of the other issues because until you get your balance sheet in order, how do you take on anything else?”

Warner who, normally speaks in reserved tones and is not prone to exaggeration, gets a bit of fire under him when talking about the debt crisis. The centrist democrat has said in the past that the problem forces him to lose sleep. On Tuesday he told me that if the Federal Government can’t fix the problem, every single elected leader should lose their jobs.

“If we don’t make progress, and I say this for me and everyone else up here, if we don’t make progress, on being able to get our deficit under control, to be able to take on the big issues surrounding entitlement reform and tax reform and get our nation’s balance sheet right, then we should all be fired,” he said.

The former Virginia governor who prided himself on finding areas of compromise between both parties said the fact that this in an election year is no excuse. He said a continued lack of progress will speak to a bigger problem.

“I unfortunately think this deficit issue ends up being almost a proxy to whether or not congress can operate in the 21st century.”

An extended clip from my conversation with Senator Warner can be found below.

Also tonight at the State of the Union, Senator Warner invited Reverend Curtis Harris, 87, a legendary civil rights figure in Virginia and the first African-American mayor of Hopewell, was Sen. Warner’s invited guest for President Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress.

Senator Warner visited with Reverend Harris prior to the president’s speech.

(Photo by Beth Adelson/Senator Warner’s Office)

Keystone politics comes to Virginia

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

The Keystone XL pipeline project is a hot topic in Washington. A debate filled with claims of enormous promise, scary consequences and just about everything in between. Candidates have lined up on either side of the debate and even though the proposed project would take place hundreds of miles away from Virginia, it is becoming a big issue here. 

Senate candidate George Allen is using Keystone and President Barack Obama‘s decision to turn down the project, as a way to corner his likely opponent Tim Kaine. Allen accuses Kaine of supporting Obama’s decision and claims it is an example of Kaine putting his tight relationship with President Obama ahead of the job concerns of his would-be constituents. 

Allen’s campaign emphasised that point by releasing this devastating web video:

Allen fully supports the Keystone XL project and has worked hard to highlight Kaine’s uncertainty on the issue. Their goal is to make it appear that Kaine won’t make a move without making sure it is okay first with the president.

But Kaine forcefully defended his Keystone position and accused Allen of taking an hypocritical approach to the project.  The Kaine team pointed out that while Allen has pushed for approval of the Keystone project, he has taken a rather tepid approach to the issue of expanding uranium mining in Virginia. Allen has said that Virginia needs to be certain of enviornmental and health concerns before moving forward on uranium.

The Kaine team pointed to a critical Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial that compares the approach of Virginia republicans to uranium to the president’s approach to Keystone. Just as Allen has tied Kaine to Obama, Kaine is working to tie his potential opponent to the massive oil companies that could benefit from a project like Keystone.

“George Allen had the chance to prove that he’d be an independent voice for the Commonwealth and the nation,” said Kaine communications director Brandi Hoffine. “Instead he’s proven that, if reelected to the U.S. Senate, he’ll continue to be a rubber stamp for oil companies who do not need his help to turn a profit.”   

While the Keystone project has now become nothing more than a political talking point, Senator Mark Warner, a democrat and an ally of Kaine believes the White House should consider revisiting the concept.

“I think it should come up again,” Warner said in an interview on First at 4.

Warner believes that the cautious approach to Keystone was the right one and if handled correctly, it could solve a major U.S. problem.

“I think we very much need an ‘all of the above’ approach to energy,” he said.  “Use our natural resources, promote renewables, use nuclear, but we have to make sure we get off of that mideast oil, and this would’ve taken us in that direction.”

But much like Kaine who chided republicans in Washington from turning the deliberative process of Keystone into a political issue, Warner believed the president was put in a difficult position. “I do think it was a bit of a ‘gotcha’ by forcing the president to decide very quickly,” Warner said.

Kaine has also encouraged the Obama adminstration to revisit the project.

Meanwhile the project is dead in the water, but the political fight  is just beginning.

Written by Ryan Nobles

January 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Cantor, Warner make trips overseas

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Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Henrico) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) are making the most of Congress being out of session. The two are both in the midst of lengthy trips overseas. Cantor is touring the Middle East, while Warner is spending his time in India.

Today the press offices from both lawmakers gave us an idea of what their bosses were up to.

In Qatar, Cantor made a trip to VCU’s branch campus in the Arab country.  The VCU facility was the first of a series of American collegiate branch campuses to make a home in Qatar’s “Education City.” Cantor toured the facility and met with Dean Allyson Vanstone.

Cantor also visited with the men and women serving in Qatar at the Al Udeid Air Force Base. You can read more about Rep. Cantor’s trip on his legislative blog. You can see more pictures of his visit here.

Meanhile on the other side of Asia, Sen. Mark Warner was involved in a unique event. He and a group of Senators toured an NBA camp in New Deli, India designed to encourge Indian young people to get active and fit. Warner who is well over 6 feet tall, even participated in a jump ball with a former NBA star. Of course that star was the shortest player in the history of the NBA. 5′ 3″ Muggsy Bogues.

You can see more photos from Senator Warner’s trip here.

Written by Ryan Nobles

January 9, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Warner worried about future of debt negotiations

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Senator Mark Warner chose to get out of Washington this week. The Congress is in recess, but the now infamous, “Super Committee” had yet to unveil its plans. Senator Warner wasn’t interested in hanging around to hear the outcome, especially because most everyone knew it wasn’t going to be good. We caught up with him at VCU a few hours before they announced they weren’t able to reach a deal.

Here is our report from NBC12:

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Now that the super committee has failed, frustrated members of Congress are concerned about what happens next. One of them is Senator Mark Warner, who told us today if you think it looks bad now…it may only get worse.  

After nearly three months of squabbling behind closed doors, the 12 members of the bi-partisan super committee seem unable to come up with a plan that fixes the country’s debt problem. Virginia Senator Mark Warner believes it is because they are focused on the wrong things.  

“If either political party thinks they are going to have a partisan only win, then they are not talking to the same kind of Virginians and Americans that I am,” said Warner. 

Warner spent a good deal of time with his “Gang of 6” creating a bi-partisan plan before the super committee was established. Their ideas were tossed aside before they even finished. Now everyone is back where they started, with many under the impression the 2012 elections will offer new opportunities, Warner believes that won’t work.  

“None of this gets any easier after 2012,” he said. 

The hold-up continues to be over taxes. Democrats want more, republicans don’t want any. Even though Warner is willing open to compromise, he can’t envision a plan that works, without some new taxes.  

read and see the rest of the story on NBC12.com

Congressman Eric Cantor will be in Richmond tomorrow. We will get his take on the deficit reduction debate then.

Meanwhile, here is the full extended clip of Senator Warner’s press gaggle today. You can truly hear the frustration in his voice.

Here are some of his better quotes:

“If either political party thinks they are going to have a partisan only win.. then they are talking to the same kind of Virginians and Americans that I am.”

“The fact that there isn’t a greater sense of urgency in this country not only from the political leadership, but the business community to kind of just say ‘oh well, its just congress,’  that is stunning to me.”

“I guess I’ve been a politician longer than I’ve been a business guy and the whole business that punting on it is an appropriate action just kind of makes my head explode.”

“I’ve been very frustrated with some of the actions of the republican leadership, but on the other hand I’m sure they’ve been frustrated with some of the actions on the democratic side.”

“They report that there are 9% of Americans that still support Congress, I can’t find anyone in that 9%, I’m sure as heck not in that 9%.”

 “We have to do our job and restore confidence or as I’ve said I think the American people would be absolutley right in firing us all.”

Written by Ryan Nobles

November 21, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Should Obama reroute visit to include Louisa County?

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People in Louisa County are frustrated.

Take Todd Hall, a body shop owner outside Mineral, Virginia. Hall has more than $40,000 in necessary repairs from the summer earthquake. A recent decision by FEMA to deny funding to individuals impacted by the earthquake, means Hall will have to find away to come up with the money all by himself.

This is the frustrated exchange he had with our Andy Jenks:

TODD: “I ain’t voting for whoever’s in the office. I’ll vote for the next man coming in.”
ANDY: “You serious?”
TODD: “Yeah. Only thing I can do.”

You can see Andy’s entire story here.

Hall is just one man. But he is a man in a swing state. One of many that are voicing concerns over the federal government’s decision to bypass Virginia’s earthquake victims. It is not a Katrina level disaster, but it has the attention of powerful Commonwealth lawmakers like Governor Bob McDonnell and Senator Mark Warner.

Warner tweeted “If damage from a once-in-a-generation, 5.8 quake doesn’t qualify for FEMA aid, then I don’t know what does.” after learning of FEMA’s ruling.

One prominent Virginia democrat is concerned that this small issue, could lead to big problems for President Barack Obama. Paul Goldman, the former Chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party believes the president should use his upcoming bus tour as a way to reach out to the people of Louisa.

Obama is scheduled to make four stops in Virginia, but Louisa is not one of them. Goldman thinks it should be. In a recent essay Goldman argues that a stop in Louisa is not only good policy, but vital politics.

“Is the Obama Administration on a mission to embarrass the boss when he comes through Virginia on his bus tour in a few days, or just make sure he loses Virginia’s 13 electoral votes?” Goldman asks. “In fact, given the proposed itinerary of the bus tour, it would seem the President is going to be motoring right by Louisa County on his way to other parts of the state.”

I look into the issue of FEMA’s denial of funding on NBC12.com.

Obama’s itinerary has not officially been released. The tour was leaked by a democratic official to the Associated Press. It wouldn’t take much to change course, or make an “unplanned visit”. The question is, will it happen?

Paul Goldman’s full essay can be found after the jump.

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